10 Indian cars we have almost forgotten

Quick, what are the top five Indian cars that come to your mind? Chances are you wouldn’t have named any of the cars that we are listing below in your top-five, top-of-mind cars as these seem to have fallen by the wayside. And it’s not just in terms of recall, the sales figures also reflect this fact.

CarToq lists 10 mainstream cars from across carmakers that you just won’t see being talked about on our pages often, as buyers go about trying to decide which car they want to buy. These cars have fallen below a buyer’s radar when it comes to choosing a car.

Which of these cars did you forget?

Maruti Estilo

The Maruti Estilo is like the underprivileged cousin of the Wagon R. It share’s the exact same mechanicals as the Wagon-R. It is powered by the same 1-litre, three-cylinder, K-Series engine that puts out 67 bhp of power. In fact, the Estilo has slightly more boot space at 212 litres compared to the Wagon-R which has 180 litres of space. In terms of price, the Estilo is similarly priced to the Wagon-R, between Rs. 3.4 lakh and Rs. 4.1 lakh, with the base variant being about Rs. 5000 cheaper. Yet, the Estilo only sells an average of 972 cars a month, while the Wagon-R sells an average of 10,700 cars a month – more than 10 times the number of Estilos each month! Read more about the Maruti Estilo

It just goes to show that buyers see the Wagon-R as a practical car, while the extreme styling of the Estilo is not convincing enough for buyers.

Hyundai Accent

hyundai accent front left

The Hyundai Accent has had its heyday. It was once extremely popular and the number two in its segment after the Maruti Esteem. Launched in 1999, the Accent was a much sought after mid-size sedan that is still on sale today. Read more about the Hyundai Accent here.

It comes with a factory-fitted CNG option now. The Hyundai Accent is priced at Rs. 5.1 lakh, and is a good entry-level car. However, the Accent is a dated product and has been overtaken by more modern competitors such as the Maruti Dzire, Toyota Etios and Tata Manza / Indigo.The Accent still sells an average of 385 cars a month and is actually a good deal for those who just must have a sedan at a low price. It goes to show that looks matter a lot and buyers don’t see the Accent as a modern product anymore.

Chevrolet Optra Magnum

chevrolet optra magnum front right photo

The Chevrolet Optra Magnum is a good all-round mid-size sedan and it’s surprising that buyers have begun to forget that the car is still on sale. It is, however, going to be discontinued shortly, but nevertheless has not been selling well for the past couple of years, due to increasing competition in its market space. The Optra Magnum comes in four variants – two diesel and two petrol – priced at between Rs. 7.5 lakh and Rs. 9.5 lakh. Compared to the other diesel cars in its segment the Optra Magnum is actually one of the most powerful diesels, just after the Hyundai Verna. Read more about the Chevrolet Optra Magnum here.

Its 2-litre diesel engine puts out 123 bhp of power and 305 Nm of torque, with a 5-speed manual transmission.  The petrol Optra Magnum comes with a 1.6 litre engine that puts out 103 bhp of power and 148 Nm of torque. The top-end LT variants come with automatic climate control, dual airbags, ABS and even a 6-CD changer.

In the last few months the car has hardly sold a few units, although at the beginning of the year it was selling about 100 cars a month. Buyers probably see the Optra as a dated product and since GM has plans to discontinue it, they are worried about spare part availability.

Maruti Kizashi

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The Maruti Kizashi as Maruti’s experiment with the luxury market. The car was imported from Suzuki as a CBU and was meant to compete with the Honda Accord. It is priced lower than the Accord, but somehow has not caught buyers fancy.  The Kizashi is powered by a robust 2.4 litre engine that puts out 176 bhp of power and 230 Nm of torque, matching the Honda Accord closely. Read more about the Kizashi here.

However, in this market, image is everything and the Kizashi just does not appear  to have the appeal that a Honda Accord has, even though it is about Rs. 4 lakh cheaper. The Kizashi sells an average of 14 cars a month.

Maruti Grand Vitara

maruti suzuki grand vitara photo

Another Maruti vehicle that has fallen under the radar is the Grand Vitara. It is a very competent SUV with good off-road ability thanks to a permanent 4×4 system with a low-ratio gearbox. However, the failing of this SUV has been the lack of a diesel engine option. Still, at nearly Rs. 8 lakh lower than a Honda CR-V it does not appeal to CR-V buyers. The Vitara is powered by a 2.5 litre engine that puts out 164 bhp of power. Read more about the Vitara here.

The Vitara has the potential to hook more buyers if only it had a diesel engine. The petrol engine option in an SUV, just does not appeal to buyers enough, especially when there are efficient diesels in the same price bracket.

Tata Sumo Grande

The Tata Sumo Grande is one vehicle that is quite popular, but somehow has more of a commercial appeal and does not ring a bell with buyers looking for personal transport, compared to the Mahindra Xylo or the Scorpio. The Grande uses the same 2.2 litre engine that powers the Tata Safari, but slightly detuned to 120 bhp, matching the Scorpio and giving more mileage. For more about the Grande click here.

However, the boxy styling and the commercial cab image the Sumo has, probably has rubbed off on the Grande and it does not get many private buyers, especially in metros. The Grande sells in decent numbers though with combined sales of the Sumo Gold and Grande adding up to an average of 2900 units a month.

Volkswagen Jetta

2011 volkswagen jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta has the potential to be a segment leader, but for a few quirks that have left it trailing in its segment, compared to its mechanically identical cousin, the Skoda Laura. Only lately has the Jetta begun to sell slightly more than the Skoda Laura after a bit of advertising push by VW. The Jetta sells an average of 275 cars a month, while the Laura sells about 370 cars a month. Read more about the Jetta here.

One of the Jetta’s failings is the lack of some expected features, although it is loaded with safety features. It does not come with automatic climate control in any of the variants, while the Skoda Laura offers this. That, and the fact, that it does not have a very distinct style as it carries the Volkswagen family look and can be mistaken for a Vento from the front, doesn’t go down too well with buyers. It’s also slightly more expensive than the Laura variant for variant.

Skoda Fabia

Skoda Fabia

The Skoda Fabia is a good all-round car, and it should actually be selling as much or more than the Volkswagen Polo, on which it is based. However, the Fabia has seen its sales number steadily dwindling. It comes in both petrol and diesel variants and is about Rs. 15,000 cheaper than the Volkswagen Polo, and just slightly more than the Maruti Swift. In fact, the Skoda Rapid, which carries the Fabia’s styling to a segment above sells quite a bit more than the Fabia. For more on the Fabia click here.

However, buyers have been shying away from the Fabia for a variety of reasons – from expensive after sales service to stories of poor service quality. The Fabia sells an average of 550 cars a month, although the past couple of months have been poor.

Nissan Teana

nissan teana

The Nissan Teana is a nice luxury car that somehow just has not caught buyer fancy. The Teana is one of the longest cars in its class with plenty of interior space and a panoramic sun-roof that keeps the interior bright and airy. The Teana comes with a 2.5 litre six-cylinder petrol engine that puts out 180 bhp of power and 228 Nm of torque. This is probably one factor that works against it, as fuel efficiency is about 8 kmpl only. Read more about the Teana here.

The Teana’s competitors include cars like the Honda Accord, Skoda Superb and Toyota Camry, which are better perceived by buyers than the Teana. Also the fact that Nissan’s service network is much smaller compared to Honda, Toyota or Skoda, is another reason for the car not really being top of mind. And then there’s the lack of a diesel option, which could have otherwise redeemed it.

Mitsubishi Cedia

Mitsubishi Cedia new
Photo: Nobody remembers the Cedia anymore - except enthusiasts.

The Mitsubishi Cedia for all it rally pretense, just does not make it to car buyers’ shopping lists. Mitsubishi recently cut prices on the Cedia Sport, bringing it down by Rs. 1.3 lakh to just Rs. 7.99 lakh. The Cedia is a fun-to-drive sporty petrol car that is powered by a 2-litre engine that puts out 114 bhp of power, quite close to what the Honda City delivers. It has great handling and ride quality. Read more about the Cedia here.

However, Mitsubishi’s poor after-sales service in India and lack of dealerships and service center network has worked against this car. Buyers also perceive spares as too expensive and don’t see owning a Cedia as a peaceful ownership experience.

These were the top-10 cars among cars currently on sale that we often forget in the Indian market. There are a few more cars such as the Chevrolet Spark, Maruti A-Star, Chevrolet Aveo and U-Va that are not always among the top cars that buyers check out when they go car shopping. Tell us if you think there are any more cars that you really don’t think about often, when shopping for a car or recommending a car.